Anything can go here, in any language... except my native language Sinhala. Be cool... anybody is warmly welcomed! :)

How I switched to Linux


Hi all, after about a one month of silence, I've thought of a nice story to share with you readers. How I switched to Linux.... well, I feel it interesting.... don't know how you'll feel. Just read... you don't need to be a geek. :-)

I live in Ambalangoda, 86 kilometers away from the capital of Sri Lanka and at that time the Internet and computers were not so popular in our area. Even I got my own personal computer in 2003. (I'm still talking about the situation before 2003) The main source of information were just newspapers, magazines, and library books. Because of my usual habit of reading everything I have, I got to know that there is something called Linux, some call it RedHat, and it is different from our Windows, we have to use it from the command line, no mouse,.. and blah blah..

However, after I got my own computer in 2003 (which had Windows installed by default -- obviously), I wanted to try out Linux. But, I couldn't find any installation media. And also, at that time I was living inside a 'Matrix' made by Windows, and I eventually forgot Linux.

In 2005, while I was studying for my A Level examination, one of my friends, who was spending his first year as an undergraduate at SLIIT, opened the door of open source to me. And that was Ubuntu! He was one of my closest friends, and we usually discuss technology related stuff and share our knowledge whenever we meet. He said that they study C programming language in their first semester, and the course is based on Linux.

Furthermore, as he introduced it to me, Ubuntu is a type of Linux, and it looks the same as Windows, you can install aside Windows, you can use the mouse, grapical user interface, you have nice themes, but can't play videos and music, and can't install any software that works with Windows.

So, it made me an Alice in the Wonderland, and I was very keen to learn more. I asked, "Don't we need to type a single command?" (that's what I've heard before). Then he showed me, "Here it is..." the terminal. For me it was amazing,... totally new and there's a whole World in front of me to explore, but, for most of the same aged individuals, it is not.

"Can I borrow your copy for two days?"

"Hey, it's yours!"

He gave me another copy containing two CDs of Ubuntu 5.10, with their logo originally printed on it. One Live CD - One Installation CD. Wow! it was free!!

Canonical, the maintainer of Ubuntu, was shipping large quantities of installation at that time. My friend has ordered 20 copies for re-distribution. But I'm pretty sure that nobody other than both of us were using it till today.



I installed it on my computer and started using it as my secondary OS, but I still didn't have an Internet connection at home. So, learning was very hard. Several times Windows installer ruined the bootloader and I was helpless. But interestingly, my courage and effort was still there! I still wanted to explore this new world!!

I wanted to join Ubuntu community, but no Internet. Download software for Ubuntu, no Internet. But, although I've felt Ubuntu can do nothing other than consuming three valuable gigabytes of my 20 GB hard drive, the remarkable thing was, I still wanted to use and redistribute!! But again,.. no Internet to make the shipit order. :(

Finally, in 2006, I was lucky to have a dial-up Internet connection at home. I've joined the Ubuntu community, asked lot of questions, answered one or two, and I began learning fast. Still I didn't know what Linux is, haven't even heard the word "kernel", but I was happy with what I have. I also distributed some installation media, about 50 copies were given to various people, but, today, only less that ten of those are still using it.

I was doing Win-Lin dual boot for some time. By reading various stuff, I got to know that there are many distributions. I've used Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Mandriva, Puppy, Knoppix and PCLinuxOS 2007. But none of them were able to suit me like Ubuntu did. I know, it's psychology,... the first impression with the meaning of the word "Ubuntu" -- humanity; it simply didn't let me run away.

In 2007, I entered University of Colombo School of Computing as and internal undergraduate, and UCSC is an excellent playground for wannabe Linux geeks. I was studying, studying and studying,... I got to know about the software market, copyrights, law, the FOSS concept, RMS' four freedoms, software licensing, community, what Linux is, it's evolution, the kenel, and all that. So, finally I decided to completely switch to the open source software, rather than sticking into closed Windows.

"Once I get to know about what the Linux is, I will switch"

So, roughly seven months ago, I have been able to do it! (most of my colleagues have not) I removed all Windows stuff from my hard drive, re-partitioned it, and installed two distros. One is Ubuntu, and the other is Fedora. Ubuntu is for day-to-day usage and Fedora is for learning purposes. As I had a sound understanding of what Linux is, and how it worked, it was very easy for me to adopt to the new environment.

I'm still an undergraduate at UCSC, and spending my final year. I have gained lots of things thought my experience, and thought my studies. I use Linux at my school desk, I use it at home, I use it on the way to home, I listen to rock, watch TV, do my assignments and projects, collaborate with my friends, continuously learn, blog and have fun,... one system - for everything. Thanks to Linus and RMS!! :-)

Finally, today I feel I am one of the happy Linux users of this World but I know still we have very few happy Linux users in the World. And I am proud to be part of that beneficent community.

Thanks for reading!

Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala



Howdy..! At last, I was lucky enough to receive my copy of the latest Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, from Canonical. I was silent over past few days because severe lightning ruined my laptop's power adapter. :( My laptop runs without a battery, and it's only power source is the AC adapter. However, I managed to make it work somehow, and at this time, things are bit OK.

Mmm... Ubuntu..! It looks like that Canonical has bit changed their usual way of shipping policies. In earlier releases, they shipped big amounts of installation media. Later, they limited. But now, if you has received the earlier version (9.04) via shipit service, they won't ship the latest version. They would deny the request, and ask you to update the existing version instead. :(




At glance, the new Ubuntu is OK and friendlier than previous version. Here, I discuss few things I have specially noticed. Some of them are really good, but few things are not.

GRUB2 (Beta)
The bootloader used in earlier versions of Ubuntu is GRUB. But now it has been replaced by GRUB2 which is still in beta. GRUB2 provides more sophisticated graphical interface than GRUB Legacy. When booting, stage 1.5 is no longer used. Also, GRUB configuration is stored in a file named grub.cfg, rather than menu.lst. Configuration file syntax has become changed, and more advanced  than legacy.

But, a one serious draw back with GRUB2 that I have noticed is, it no longer supports bootloader password. In my point of view, this is a huge disadvantage since any idiot can adjust kernel parameters in order to gain root access very easily. So what I did is, soon after installing Ubuntu, switched back to GRUB Legacy. If you wish to do that, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install grub
$ sudo grub

Then overwrite the bootloader as specified in this article. Follow the same procedure for your hard drive.

GRUB Legacy works with Ubuntu 9.10 very well, no issues at all. :-)

In distros like Debian, the user is asked to chose the bootloader (whether GRUB, LILO or GRUB2) during installation. But Ubuntu does not. It asks only for the location where bootloader should install. But according to my views, when distributing beta software as a default package for some appliance, the older (stable) version should be kept aside as an option to let the user decide what to install. Because beta software might sometimes dissatisfy the user.

Encrypted Home Folder
This is actually an option provided by ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer. When you set up your user account during installation, you can either choose to require password to login, or require password to login and decrypt home folder, or automatically login. But, the second option seems like a troublemaker since it makes problems with login if you change your password later.

Just see for yourself. ;-)

New Appearance
New dark splash and login screens feel better than earlier ones, Boot time also seems reduced than 9.04. Console font has also become more readable and because of that, console screen has made more roomy.

Default human theme has also modified to become more darker than the earlier... ;-) However, personally I would prefer the earlier one than that.

Like in 9.04, in this release also Ctrl+Alt+Backspace key sequence is disabled. This is not so good since if your desktop freezes, you might need to restart your computer. If this key sequence has been enabled, you can just restart the current X session (without having to reboot) in a such situation. If you want to re-enable it, just go to System --> Preferences --> Keyboard, and then follow the screenshot below.


Click to zoom

However, in Linux, freezing is not an often thing. :-)

New Wallpapers Collection
New wallpapers collection is really a thing to mention because rather than greenish one or two wallpapers that earlier releases had, the new aesthetically pleasing wallpaper set attracts the user... like Windows Vista did. :P

Audio Volume Increasable up to 150%
The worst problem I ever had with Ubuntu audio is, it does not produce enough sound. I was looking for a solution browsing through various forums and blogs, but had no luck. Finally I decided to use SMPlayer since it provides capability to increase audio volume up to more than 100%.

But now, in new Ubuntu 9.10, it provides a very convenient graphical way to increase audio volume up to 150%. For me this is really a great thing since I'm a huge fan of music. However, if you increase volume level than 100%, changes are not persistent. At next reboot, it will again drop to 100%. :(


Click to zoom

Also, Karmic Koala provides a more comprehensible interface for audio configuration. But older configuration interface is also still available through the command line. Just run alsamixer on command line and see.

iBus Input Method Framework
Since I use two languages, it is often needed to switch between those input methods. So, an input method provider is a must. Earlier it was SCIM, and now it has been replaced by iBus which provides a more user friendly configuration interface, and smoother operation. I really like the new iBus. :-)



UbuntuOne
UbuntuOne is an online file hosting service based on cloud computing technology. It is offered by Canonical and they provide 2 GB of space for free of charge, and it cloud can be upgraded to 50 GB for $10 per month. The service is still in public beta.

More information is available here.

Firefox 3.5 as Web Browser
Although Firefox 3.5 was released before Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty, they distributed the older version. But, in Ubuntu 9.10 the web browser is Firefox 3.5.3.

Empathy as the Default IM Client
A significant change is that they have replaced the default IM client by Empathy. Earlier it was Pidgin. Unlike Pidgin, Empathy supports audio and visual communication.

Screensavers
The number of screensavers has been reduced, and my favourite screensaver Skyrocket is also missing. :-(

In the screensavers dialog box, screen saver preview area had some issues with compiz fusion, but now that seems fixed.





Overall, I feel that Ubuntu has become more and more like Windows than ever it was. And it no longer looks like a g33k's operating system. In my laptop, Karmic Koala works really faster than Jaunty Jackalope. And also compiz fusion works with no issues. However, most users like it. :-)

So, why waiting? Get it..!

(Till I get my laptop fixed, ciao......!!!)

Invoke Google's Web Search from Bash

Nice ideas come in handy way :) ; invoke Google's web search from your Linux desktop shell! :-O

Here's a small shell script that I wrote couple of minutes ago. Copy-paste it into a new file, save it inside /usr/bin as google. This works in GUI mode with firefox very well, but it doesn't work with lynx. I still could not find any reason,.. may be somebody can come up with an idea.

if [ $# -ne 0 ]
then
  query="http://www.google.lk/#hl=en&q="
  for i in $@
  do
    query=$query$i+
  done
  firefox $query &
else
  echo "Usage: google <your search query>."
fi


Then chmod +x /usr/bin/google as root to make it executable.

Now, enter the following as a command and see: B-)

$ google shaakunthala

Or,

Just press Alt+F2, type google shaakunthala and press Enter.


You can use whatever as your keyword. But, have to follow usual bash (shell) syntax.

For example,
If your query is sameera shaakunthala, your command should be,
$ google sameera shaakunthala

If your query is shaakunthala's portal, your command should be,
$ google shaakunthala\'s portal

If your query is "shaakunthala's portal", your command should be,
$ google "\"shaakunthala\'s portal\""

... and so on.

And use your creativity and combine this with some google search hacks that you know. It can be a powerful web search command from your desktop! :-O

Bye! Ciao! Sweet dreams! :P



*** Update ***

I re-wrote the script for lynx. The problem arises with the hash (#)sign in the URL. So I removed it. The whole thing is more convenient in the command line, than in the GUI mode.

if [ $# -ne 0 ]
then
  query="http://www.google.lk/search?hl=en&q="
  for i in $@
  do
    query=$query$i+
  done
  lynx -accept_all_cookies $query
else
  echo "Usage: google <your search query>."
fi

Here's the code explanation (how it works):
When you execute the script with some arguments, it will concatenate all arguments with plus sign (+) in between. This is necessary to parse the input as web browser URL format. Then it will concatenate it to the Google search URL string to pass it to the server script at Google.

And finally pass the whole thing as an argument to your web browser.

if - then - else - fi : Decision making
$# : Total number of arguements passed to the shell
-ne : not equals
for - do - done : Looping
$@ : all the arguments (except the command itself) passed to the shell

Ciao! :)

MP3 Batch Transcoding with Linux


Well, hello there; after some time... this one is about some small work I've done, that I think usful for other Linux users.

 I'm huge fan of music -- especially hard rock and thrash metal. I feel almost dead if I don't get a chance at least once a day, to listen to them. So I wanted to put my huge collection into my mobile phone's memory chip so I can carry them anywhere I go. But, my poor memory chip is just 1 GB. It's not enough at all! So, the only way to pack as much as I can is, reduce the bitrate of the MP3 files.

The next problem... I don't use Windows, nor Windows based software. But, if occurs a situation where I don't have any chance with Linux, I have installed Windows inside a virtual machine for use. But I rarely use that. Of course I can use JetAudio or any other audio conver to do this easily, but, as a professional and permanent Linux user, that's not my style.

So I asked our smart genie... Google to find out a solution. Here's what I've got:
#!/bin/bash
for file in `ls`
do
file=`echo $file | sed s/\ /_/g`
echo $file
lame --decode $file
lame -b 128 $file.wav
rm $file
rm $file.wav
mv $file.wav.mp3 $file
done

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/reduce-mp3-bitrate-336791/

It's a shell script for batch processing. It will process all the MP3 files inside a given directory. Yes, that's more than what I wanted, but, what would happen if filenames contain whitespaces? The solution is not much practical, because most MP3s we get contains at least one whitespace in filename. I don't have time to rename each and every file. So I wsa thinking about a suitable solution.

It is based on lame encoder, if you don't have it, please install it first.
# apt-get install lame

Yes, the find command! Got that!!! Here's the code I've wrote:
Copy this into a text file (mp3enc.sh).

if [ $# -eq 2 ]
then
mkdir $1/output
cd $1
find . -maxdepth 1 -exec lame -h -b $2 {} ./output/{}  \;
else
echo "Invalid arguements, please refer http://portal.shaakunthala.com/2009/10/mp3-batch-transcoding-with-linux.html"
fi

Then execute,
$ chmod +x mp3enc.sh

Now run it,
$ ./mp3enc.sh <mp3_files_directory> <target_bitrate_kbps>

Eg:
$ ./mp3enc.sh /home/ubuntu/Music/MyMusic 128

It will make a directory called output inside your music directory, and put the encoded files in.

It's simple as that! I think it's easier than JetAudio, isn't it? ;)

How I Prepared My GRUB-Bootable USB Flash Drive


Again... the GNU GRUB. I really can't forget such an interesting software that I can study. Today, I'm going to put the English version of my another Sinhala blog post. It's about how I made my flash drive a bootable one.

Now you might say,.. "That's pretty easy stuff with Windows... Just right click and Format...."; wait.........! I'm not going to talk about the DOS/ Windows bootloader. DOS/ Windows bootloader is nothing compared to the GNU GRUB. What I'm going to put here is how to put the GRUB + kernel into your flash drive.

First, I would like to give a small introduction on the GNU GRUB. Wikipedia got a whole lot of information,.. but I'll also explain. Simply, GRUB is a bootloader. A bootloader is the program loads the operating system when your computer boots. Have you ever seen the "NTLDR is missing" error on a Windows XP installed system? Yes, that NTLDR is the bootloader of Windows NT based operating systems. There are two most used types of bootloaders with Linux. One is LILO (LInux LOader) and the other is GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader). Due to numerous reasons the most popular bootloader among the two is the GRUB. I'm not going to list them here,.. but believe me.. the GRUB is really a 'thing' to study!

So,.. we are bit off the topic.Let's get back on it. How would it be if I install the GRUB on a USB flash drive? That's what came into my mind when I was reading the posts on UCSC LMS (I'm a student). Yes, it would be great! There are several advantages I can think of.
  • If I boot a Live CD, it takes some time. But, here as it is a bootloader only system, it takes a less time to boot up.
  • I can study further,.. (I'm not a Linux expert)
  • I can hijack Linux systems,... :D
  • I can check the RAM using memtest+86.bin kernel

I have a 4 GB flash drive. So here's how I did with it:

1. Backed up all the data on the flash drive as I'm gonna partition it.

2. Divided the drive into two primary partitions. It doesn't matter whether it is primary or logical, but as I didn't need any more partitions, I set it as this.

# fdisk /dev/sdb

One partition is a FAT-32 one to keep my personal files,which I might need to use with both Windows and Linux. It should be the first partition on the flash drive. Unless, Windows will spoil up everything. I left 50 MB at the end of the partition table as unpartitioned/ free space which I'm going to use for the boot partition.

As I've mentioned earlier, Windows can not identify the partitions other than the physically first partition on the flash drive partition table. That means, even if the partition number is not 1, it should exist first to be identified by Windows.

The second one, is nearly 50 MB, and is ext-2 type. It holds the GRUB's files and the kernel.

Formatted the partitions using the following commands:
# mkdosfs /dev/sdb1 -v -F 32 -n LEONIDAS_4G
# mke2fs /dev/sdb2 -L boot

Now mounted them,
# mkdir /media/data; mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /media/data

# mkdir /media/boot; mount /dev/sdb2 /media/boot

3. Well, there could be a systematic way to do this. But, I'm not a Linux expert. So, please don't laugh at me. This is how I did it:

# cd /
# cp -rfv boot /media/boot

Now, the GRUB installation, the thing I recently got to know from our LMS forum.

# grub
grub> find /media/boot/boot/grub/stage1

Now it gives the following output:
(hd1,1)

According to the notation, the second partition on the flash drive is (hd1,1). The next step is;

grub> root (hd1,1)
grub> setup (hd1)
grub> quit

Now, the GRUB has been installed on the flash drive.

4. Now I carefully examined the boot partition on the flash drive. There were two versions of the kernal and related files. This might be probably due to a kernal update on my system. It doesn't matter. I kept the most recent version and deleted the other.

5. Finally I edited the menu.lst, which caontains the initial configuration of the GRUB, when it boots. Here's the entire menu.lst file:

title    Linux kernel 2.6.27-14-generic
root     (hd0,1)
kernel   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-14-generic root=UUID=d1670f8e-eb3f-4dba-bba5-e00f0437e2a2 ro single
initrd   /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-14-generic

title    memtest86+
root     (hd0,1)
kernel   /boot/memtest86+.bin


There's another few important things to state here. Althoug the flash drive is (hd1) here, it becomes (hd0) when booting. The reason is almost obvious, when you set it as the first boot device on the BIOS, it becomes the first device.

The next thing is the UUID. UUID is sent to the kernel as a parameter. You can find the UUID using this:

# vol_id --uuid /dev/sdb2

6. Okey,.. I'm almost done. The final step is to boot. The GRUB loading can bee seen and then the boot menu. You can either edit the menu and boot the kernel on the hard disk or boot the kernel on the flash drive.

There is no init on the flash drive because I didn't put it on the drive. So when booting, it show an error message, and drops into a BusyBox shell. It works on the RAM (initramfs). In simple terms, there is a shell = we can make use of the kernel. :)

7. Restore the backup (personal data/ files) onto the FAT 32 partition on the flash drive. If you plug the flash drive inta a Windows machine, the whole thing may look like this:



Do not delete any of the partitions using the Windows Disk Management Console. If you want to format your data drive, you can go through My Computer and format. Do not touch the other one as it could ruin the entire filesystem on the flash drive which we have built so far. Also if you want to adjust the partition table, the safe option is to do it with Linux.

Finally, I have to say is I've experimented and learnt something new. And I wanted to share my experience here!

Thanks for reading.

Solution for Some USB Flash Drive Problems


Today I'm gonna put the English translation of one of my Sinhala blog posts, which talks about a solution some possible problems that might occur with USB flash drives. Roughly I would say the solution is to destroy and rebuild the filesystem on the device. But this is not actually the same content from original blog post.

Well, most of us are carrying those portable memory devices... some call it pen drive... and some call it flash drive... and some other may call thumb drive. Whatever it is, it has become an essential thing with our day to day life.

First, I must tell an important thing,.. pay extreme attention when following these instructions. Unless, a single mistake could ruin your entire hard drive!

OK, the first thing that I'm going to point out is, you may have seen that capacity of a flash drive is indicated less than the value printed on it. I'm not talking about indicating a 4 GB drive as 3.77 GB. Sometimes you might have seen a scenario where the drive has been indicating 3.77 GB, but later it has become a lower value like 1.2 GB. Yes, I'm talking about that problem.

In certain other cases, Windows would not detect the device. It might show a message like 'Insert disk...' also.

As far as I think, the reason behind this might be physical, electrical or electronically damage to the device. Also, viruses are also a suspect. However, if the damage is too severe, then you might not be lucky enough to succeed with these instructions. I have tested this several times successfully, but unsuccessful attempts are there as well.

So, my instructions are based on Linux, to be executed on a command line shell, free, open and adventurous! :)

First, you need to backup existing data on the device. Use any backup tool or you can use the following command. (Assumed that the flash drive is /dev/sdb and it's filesystem is FAT32)
# mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /mnt
# tar cvpzf backup.sdb.tgz /mnt

If you are not sure about the device file (/dev/?d?), just enter the following command and identify your flash drive.
# fdisk -l

Now unmout the device if mounted.
# umount /dev/sdb

Then we will clear everything on the device, including it's partition table (overwriting MBR). We do not have this option with Windows.
# fdisk /dev/sdb
Enter o to create a new disklabel (this is not the drive label which we can see on a windows parition)
Enter w to write the MBR and exit fdisk.

Now, create the only partition on the flash drive. Of course you can have multiple partitions on the flash drive. But I'm not sure about whether Windows would detect all the partitions.
# fdisk /dev/sdb
Enter n to create a new partition.
Enter p to make it primary.
Enter 1 as the partition number.
Press Enter twice to use default starting and ending points.
Enter w to write changes and exit.

We have finished setting up the partition, now the next thing is to format. It's a good choice to format as FAT32 because when you do so, the drive can be used with both Windows and Linux. If the device capacity is more than 4 GB, I would recommend NTFS. Well, that would be another story. I'm gonna write about that some day as well. If it is the memory stick on your mobile phone, your choice should be FAT16 -- this depend on your phone's type also.

To format as FAT32,
# mkdosfs -F 32 -cv -n DRIVELABEL
I use verbose (-v) option so I can see the progress, -c is to probe for bad clusters (this can take some time), and -n for Windows disk volume label (DRIVELABEL in this example) which can be or less than 11 ASCII characters.

To format as NTFS,
# mkntfs -C -I -v -L DRIVELABEL
-C to enable compression, and I to disable indexing (Windows XP), -v for verbose output and -L for volume label which cab be or less than 32 ASCII or unicode characters.

So, this is the end of my post. This method is not alwsys successful, but I was lucky in two of three situations.

Thanks for reading!

Gentoo Installation Screencast - ep 1


As a FOSS enthusiast and a penguin lover I thought of writing more on Linux. For a Linux beginner I would say just use Ubuntu and have some practice with basic idea. But, if you really want to dig deeper, Ubuntu is not the one. For that purpose, to get our hands dirty, what our lecturers have recommended for us is Gentoo. Yes, most online resources say the same thing. If you just install Gentoo using the command line, you'll get to know a whole lot of things. Gentoo is not easy, and it's a good choice for wannabe GNU/ Linux hackers.

If you need a good guide for installation of Gentoo, just refer one of these links:
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/?catid=install
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/
http://gentoo-install.com/install

Actually installing Gentoo is not a big thing, just know what you do. I thought of preparing some kind of video screencast of how I did it, and it's available for download [21.5 MB] at http://www.4shared.com/file/136463718/3a2a3124/bootogv.html Actually this video is just booting, partitioning disks and mounting. The first part of a series of videos. If you have any critiques, feel free to discuss here. Due to limitations with my Internet connectivity I can't upload a bigger video which contains the whole thing. I will put subsequent episodes for download as soon as possible.

I did the recording with recordmydesktop (can be seen on the video) which uses the Theora codec, and VirtualBox for as the hardware emulator.

What did I forget to say..? Mhh... yes, the video is copyleft. Download, use it for any purpose. :)

Thanks for reading!

EDIT (01-Oct-2009)

Now I feel like my attempt is quite unsuccessful. However I would neither delete the video nor this post. Without narration and a properly written guide this is unsuccessful. I have a target of preparing some video tutorials with no involvement of propritary software. Till then I may have to learn more about open source video production.

A Childish Attempt Made to Hijack my Gmail Account


Today, I've received an email from Google (accounts-noreply@google.com) subjecting Google Password Assistance. Google sends this email when somebody has made an attempt to reset the particular Gmail account's password. But, this request is not initiated by me.

Google password reset process works as follows:
  1. User enters the Gmail address into the password reset form.
  2. Using CAPTCHA, Google verifies that the request is not made by truly a human.
  3. Google uses either of the following methods to verify the account ownership.
  • If the Gmail account was inactive during the past 24 hours, Gmail asks for the security question which the account owner has provided during sign up.
  • If the Gmail account was not inactive, it sends an email to the secondary address that is provided during sign up.
  1. After the verification of account ownership, it enables the user to choose a new password.
In my case, somebody has made the attempt, and Google has sent me the password reset email. Well, I have reset my password -- I periodically do so. :) So thanks to the poor guy who made the attempt. :P

Anyway, how do we prevent such vulnerabilities? Here's what I think:
  • Use at least two email accounts. Use each other to receive password reset emails. Eg: set your Yahoo! address as your Google account's secondary address and set your Gmail address as your Yahoo! account's secondary address.
  • Try to access those accounts frequently.
  • Use ambiguous Q/A pair as the security question and answer. Use your own tunes with creativity. I know, this can go INSANE!!! Eg: Q - Where did you spend your honeymoon? A - Cloud #9

OK. Anything else does not come to my mind this time. May be later I might add more. By the way,....... who might want to hijack my Gmail account? I still don't have an answer. :-?




Well, there might be several bloggers who want to do this adventure. :D

Thank for reading!

Disk Maintenance with Ubuntu Live


Well, I thought of writing about some disk management which you can do with just using an Ubuntu Live CD.

First thing is, we don't need the GUI. Forget it. The text mode works considerably faster. After loading the initial screen of the Ubuntu Live CD, select the language, then press F6. You get a line that can be edited, and ends with the following parameters:

initrd=/casper/initrd.gz quiet splash --

Replace quiet splash with this:

ro single

And press Enter. Now the system boots into the single user mode. In other words, you are taken into the text mode. In later versions of Ubuntu, you get a menu. Just select root and you'll become root user! You can backup your disks, partition disks, file system check and many more!

Partitioning disks:
Just use either parted or fdisk. Personally I would prefer fdisk.
# fdisk -l (to list all filesystems)
# fdisk /dev/sda (to partition the first disk which is SCSI)
# parted /dev/sda (to partition the first disk which is SCSI)

Dont panic! Help is provided inside these commands. You just need to know plain English and the way that a partition table is structured (theory). :)

Format disks:
# mke2fs /dev/sda1 (format the partition as ext-2)
# mke2fs -j /dev/sda1 (format the partition as ext-3)
# mkntfs /dev/sda1 (format the partition as ntfs)
# mkdosfs /dev/sda1 (format the partition as FAT12/ FAT16 or FAT32)
# mkswap (format as swap)

Filesystem check:
# fsck /dev/sda1 (check and repair Linux filesystem on the drive, the partition should be unmounted first!!!)
# dosfsck /dev/sda1 (check FAT12/16/32 filesystem)

Tune Filesystem:
# tune2fs /dev/sda1 (tune adjustable parameters on a Linux filesystem)
Linux filesystems are periodically checked for  consistency during boot. You can adjust that time period with this tool.
# tune2fs -c 60 /dev/sda1 (set fsck to be executed on /dev/sda1 once a two months)

Backup your data into another drive:
Just execute the following commands one by one. Please refer this thread for a broader discussion.
# mkdir /source
# mount /dev/sda1 /source; mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt
# cd /mnt
# tar cvpzf backup.tgz --exclude=/source/lost+found --exclude=/mnt /source

To restore later (assume the backup archive is located at /dev/sdb1),
# mkdir /mnt/backup /mnt/restore
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/restore; mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/backup
# cd /backup
# tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /restore

Repair GRUB bootloader:
I got to know about this from here. Not everybody can access that site, so I'll put the whole thing here. Enter the following commands one by one.
# grub
/find/grub/stage1 (find the corresponding values for x and y for the next step)
root(hdx,y)
setup(hdx)

Execute binaries on an existing Linux installation:
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt; chroot /mnt
You can change the root password too!!! :-O

Wanna see how NTFS is supported on Ubuntu?
Just type ntfs at the root shell prompt and press the Tab twice. I'm not gonna put it here.

If you think I might have forgotten anything to put here, don't hesitate to share it here... Thanks for reading!

Kottu and Feedburner Email Delivery


Well, after a long long silance, Shaakunthala is back here, with a new domain name, shaakunthala.com. Today what I'm gonna talk about is, does Kottu need a feedburner email subscription box?

Kottu, no need to explain what it is,.. it's the most famous Sri Lankan blog aggrigator. When I first started blogging in 2006, I didn't know anything. So I gave up. After two years, while googling for something, I saw something interesting.... whoa.. Sinhala blogs. Yes, I got interested, and came back to the stage again. Because of the Sinhala blog aggregator, which uses the same technology that in Kottu, I was able to address a large number of readers. After some time, through Sinhala bloggers I got to know about Kottu. With the help of Kottu, I have been able to address even larger audience. That's nice of course!

After few months, I started this blog. Kottu was the only aggregator that helped me to get readers' attention this time because posts are written in English. Although what I write here are not much interesting, regular bloggers at Kottu were kind enought to put some comments too. But, sadly I often forget to check the Kottu feed so I couldn't comment some interesting blog posts. This normally happens because of my busy and geeky life.


Not only Kottu but also I often forget to check Sinhala blog reader regularly. But, there's an email subscription box on the Sinhala blog aggregator. So using that I've subscribed via email. Every day around 7.30 pm I'm getting an email digest so no need to check the feed. Within an hour I finish reading and commenting all the interesting posts.

Most of the time I miss interesting blog posts going on Kottu. Well, honestly I don't want to miss them. What I would suggest is an email subscription option, like the one that Sinhala Blog Reader has. So interested people can enter their email address, verify and get updats, and others can do the regular way.

I hope indi would pay some attention ;) . Actually it's not a big thing to handle a feedburner email list. After the initial setup you can keep your hands off. I'm also managing a small email delivery list at feedburner for my Sinhala blog. I have around 25 active subscribers there and actually I even dont look at it.

This is just an idea, according to my point of view. I don't want to miss anything that I should read; are you too?  Please share your ideas if you have any...

Thanks for reading. :)

Windows 7 on Jaunty

I'm just about to install Windows 7 inside a virtual machine on Jaunty (Ubuntu 9.04). I allocated 512 MB of RAM for the virtual machine. I don't know whether it would be enough. I'm not sure whether I would be able to do it.

Recently I switched to Ubuntu, but because of in some cases I would still need Windows, I decided to install Windows XP inside a virtual machine managed by VirtualBox. The VM in following screenshots is made for Windows XP, but I'm tring out Windows 7.

However, here are the screenshots...


Windows 7 on Ubuntu 9.04


VM named Windows XP, but actually runs Windows 7

Rip GTA Vice City Radio Stations

First of all, let me tell you why I'm afrer Vice City this much. I like the story, I' enthusiastic about the 80's style, I like the music, and many more reasons. I have played many other games, and I have played other releases of GTA as well but none of them were able to keep me addicted.

Are you a fan of GTA Vice City radio stations? I am. My favourite is Flash FM. (That's because I love the song by Wang Chung, Dance Hall Days, Jackson's Billie Jean, INXS' Kiss the Dirt... etcetera etcetera......... ;) )

So I wanted a way to keep these radio stations after the removing the game from my computer. After switching to Linux in few more days, I may not be able to install Vice City. So, after doing some googling, I found a nice way to rip thoese stations.

Each radio station is a single file and stored in Vice_City_Installation_Directory\Audio\ directory with *.adf file extension. These files cannot be opened with any known media player software.

Actually these adf files are a kind of special archive files. We need an unpacker to unpack these archives and rip the audio tracks inside. That software is called Dragon Unpacker, a handy open source software tool. Just open each adf file with Dragon Unpacker, and you can see an MP3 file inside each. Just right click it and select the option to extract files without any conversion.

And that's all! Enjoy!!

Doghouse

This guy is really happy with his apartments inside the canoe...



Location: Tangalle, Sri Lanka

VirtualBox Seamless Mode works Perfect



Finally, I've done it and now it's time for some kinda new desktop experience. :)

Stupid Hardware Tweak

Today I was using a Windows GUI application for some purpose, and after certain point it started showing that Abort/Retry/Ignore repetitively. But I wanted to ignore these errors and continute the stuff. Waiting for errors and clicking on the Ignore button wastes a lot of time.

So here's how I automated it using my own simple trick :P ... it worked for me perfectly!


[click to enlarge]

Fedora Counters For Your Blog

The upcoming version of Fedora, Fedora 11 (Leonidas ) is to be released on May 26th, 2009 [schedule].

They have prepared a counter badge that anybody interested can put it in his/her own web site. I have also put one in my Sinhala blog. So, dear reader, if you also have a blog/ site, please put a badge on your site and help spread the power of human knowledge (human knowledge - that's how Richard M Stallman defines free software).

But there is a problem with the badge. They provide a script (hosted on their servers) so it may not be available in the size you prefer. In my Sinhala blog, my preferred size is 120 pixels. The code they previde is this:


<script id="fedora-banner" type="text/javascript" src="http://fedoraproject.org/static/js/release-counter-ext.js?lang=en"></script>


So I had to download the script and modify it. So here's the modified code and you can simply copy-paste it into a HTML/Javascript widget in your blog. You can modify the 23rd line (bannerimg.setAttribute("width", "120px");) of this code to adjust the badge size.


<script id="fedora-banner" type="text/javascript" language="javascript">

var available_langs = [ "en", "it" ];


var today = new Date();
var release = new Date("May 26, 2009 14:00:00 UTC");
var millisBetweenDates = release - today;
var days = Math.ceil(millisBetweenDates/1000/60/60/24);

var script = document.getElementById('fedora-banner');
var lang = "en"

var url = "http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/11/Schedule";

var banner = document.createElement('div');

var bannerlink = document.createElement('a');

var bannerimg = document.createElement("img");
bannerimg.style.border = "none";

bannerimg.setAttribute("width", "120px");

if (days <= 0) {
    // TODO: Get an actual image here!
    bannerimg.setAttribute("src", "http://fedoraproject.org/static/images/banners/f11release.png");
    bannerimg.setAttribute("alt", "Fedora 11 is here!");
    url = "http://fedoraproject.org/get-fedora";
} else {
    bannerimg.setAttribute("src", "http://fedoraproject.org/static/images/counter/" + lang + "/fedora11-countdown-banner-" + days + "." + lang + "." + "png");
    bannerimg.setAttribute("alt", "Fedora 11 Leonidas released in " + days + " days.");
}

bannerlink.setAttribute("href", url);

bannerlink.appendChild(bannerimg);
banner.appendChild(bannerlink);

script.parentNode.insertBefore(banner, script);

</script>


If you are interested, please put a counter on your blog too.

Thank you for reading.

A Hackers' Session -- from a Campus Kuppi

"Machan, I need some help"

"Yh, what sort of?"

"A Kuppi. Can you prove how SSL is gonna be secure?"

I explaind him the theories of public key cryptography and he had nicely understood them. At the end of the day we both are happy :) . Now, it's time to play with some tools.

"OK, here's my SLTnet prepaid account which I have been using before getting this mobile broadband package. You can see their web site doesn't support SSL enabled login. I don't use this account anymore."

"Yes machan, what are you gonna do?"

"I'm turning on the network protocol analyzer, and entering shaakunthala as username, 123456 as the password coz I don't remember my password."

"OK, show me how to get the password."

"Viola! Here it is, 123456!!"

"Yes, then you say, it's not possible when SSL is enabled?"

"Not actually, but it is not possible to sniff the passwords using regular methods when using SSL"

"OK, show me practically" "Here's Gmail -- close your eyes ;) I'm entering my real username and R-E-A-L password!"

"Are you crazy!? What if I see your password?"

"You won't. Try it yourself."

My friend, tired spending few minutes struggling with the protocol analyzer logs,..

"OK men.. I give up.. you win... and thank you for your time"

"That's okey dude! :) "

***

* Characters: Me and one of my best friends -- At University of Colombo School of Computing open canteen a.k.a. Bhawana (බවන). ;)

* Kuppi (කුප්පි): A Sinhala word for vial. But, in university students' subculture, a Kuppi is the act of a student helping his own colleague(s)
who haven't been able to understand the lectures completely or partially.

Back to Vice City

Last few days.... actually the Sinhala and Tamil New Year vacation, during that time I were with lots lots of fun stuff. One of those was playing GTA Vice City. It's my favourite computer game. There are other releases such as Liberty City, San Andreas and etcetera etcetera I know. But, Vice City is Nice. What fantastic story! [read the story]

Vice City is not for kids. So if you find this annoying or you are under 18, then leave! :D

I have finished this several times before, but, I have mentioned in my previous post, I'm gonna get rid of Windows OS. No Windows = No Vice City. I'm never gonna be with Windows again. (Getting rid of Windows is not death yes I know ;) ) So this is the last time.

Finishing the game is pretty easy without cheats. I don't know why lot of people cheat in these games, but, cheating is not necessary. If you listen well, if you have a good ability to think, if you are a strategic person, then Vice City is nothing for you.

So I thought of writing some tips for Vice City lovers. These will help you to succeed in the Vice City in a short period of time.

***

Try to find at least 10 of 100 hidden packages -- A hidden package is not just 100 bucks. 10 hidden packages will give you a body armour (at the Ocean View Apartments and other non-business properties). More hidden packages will enable more weapons and stuff.

Do a vigilant mission when you have enough weapons -- This will increase the body armour strength from 100 to 150 permanently. I said when you have enough weapons,... because it's gonna be lot more than a rampage. It's a mega rampage! Do this when there is a nearby safehouse, so you can easily get full health by just running into the cassette tape sign.
First Step:
Shoot at a cop. You'll get two stars and they'll follow you. Cover yourself and shoot... shoot... and shoot. Don't stop. When you get three stars, here comes a helicopter.. just get the sniper and shoot the pilot,.. helicopter will crash. Four stars... here comes the military, things getting harder.. Five stars.. FBI,... and Six stars... whoa! Rhinos!! Vice City forces bring you tanks. Just get the sniper and shoot at the driver. Then, run (sprint actually) to the tank and get in. As soon you get in the tank, hit the left Ctrl key repetitively to make sure you kill the nearby cops and agents. Now, get on the road and drive to star bribes to get rid of cops (Pay n' Spray won't work). Turn the canon around 180 degrees, and fire to increase the speed, otherwise they'll bust you. Avoid hitting police vehicles. Go to a safehouse that has a garage and park the tank. Save the game.
Second Step:
Get on the tank and press Caps Lock. Then you'll start the vigilant mission. Don't care about cops, but at least until the sixth level, try to avoid cops. You can hit the enimies with the tank or fire. Beat a level 12 vigilant mission and save. Viola! You get 150 of body armor plus money.

Do the Pizza Boy mission to get 150 of permanent health -- Nearby the pizza restaurant, there is a scooter. Grab it and complete the pizza delivery mission. You get 150 of health. This looks hard, but actually it's very easy.

Do some dirty work to be more healthy -- (kids go away please :D ) You can get another 25 of health just by dating a hooker! :P But this is not permanent. When you save the game, you'll lose this additional 25. Here's how to... at night, get a new sports car and park near a hooker. Sound the horn and she'll get in. Amount of your money will start decreasing so quickly drive into the bushes and stop. Car will bump several times (and you'll hear 'creek creek' sound of shock absorbers as well ;) ). Your health willl increase up to 125 (or 175 if you have completed the pizza boy). After finishing the 'business', drive to an open place and let her go. Waste her and get your money back. The funniest thing is, when the car bumps up and down, it increases the frequency, and stops in rhythm -- that's about it. :D .

Don't do the Avery Carrington's (sign A) last mission (which is to waste a gang leader) if you have left missions to do in gangster areas -- After this mission, Hitians and Cubans will start fighting each other and it will be a real nuisence! Completing the following Robina and Aunt Poulet missions will make the gangsters more and more angry and they often will shoot at you!

Manage your budget well -- actually, Vice City also shows you to how to spend your money and manage. It's like a some sort of a practical management tutorial. During the first few missions, don't spend money on anything. But after taking over Diaz's business and beating the level 12 vigiline it will be fine. If you buy weapons, do Pay n' Spray then you'll have to spend more time on 'earning' money. Otherwise it's just three days to finish the game. To earn fast, you can do insane stunts, and taxi missions. For weapons,... some wepons are placed in specific locations. At the ending missions, money will be nothing for you.

How to beat The Driver -- No doubts 'The Driver' is the most difficult mission in Vice City. In this mission you have to race with an experianced driver named Hilary. His car (Sabre Turbo) will accelarate well, but your car (Sentinel) is the fastest. The race takes place at night, so there will be less cars, but... cops will show up saying 'Illegal street race' with two stars. This makes the mission difficult because cops will try to hit your car so you'll lose your control.
There is a nice trick I play to win the race. This ain't cheaing, :P . First, take a rifle and get to the Malibu Club. Get the mission. From this point you'll not be able to change the weapon because you are in the car. When the race begins, shoot at the tyres of Hilary's car and pop at least two tyres. Be careful not to shoot Hilary. Then quickly get into the car and drive. You have to do this quickly!!! After doing this, Hilary will lose his control and drive zig zag :P . So you can win the race easily, but drive fast. ;) Genius, ha?

***

Anyway,.. that's it. Many more tips I have but no time to write. :( I'm a big fan of Vice City game, but no time to play. I may never play these kinda games again, coz I'm removing Windows OS from my computer.

Okey,... time to leave. I invite you to share your gaming experiences too. :)

Go beyond Windows

These days I'm planning to completely move to Linux. Earlier I used to use Windows. Then did Lin-Win dual for a long time. And now,.. getting ready to go beyond... a Linux-only box. But,... actually,... the (evil?) spirit of Windows will still remain... whoa! Virtualbox!!

Why?
My studies at school will still need Windows environment.

Then Why linux-only?
Windows is so insecure. I'm gonna format the whole thing in ext-4 and put Linux on. Recently,.. two two laptops belonged to two of my friends were lost with their important and confidential data on hard drives. They both were using Windows. Windows filesystem and password encryption algorithms provide almost no security compared to Fedora. Soon,... as I find a temporary place to back up my data which is about 100 gigabytes,.. I will completely turn my hard drive into an encrypted ext-4 system. Simple, free, open, but secure. :)
Even if my laptop is stolen, nobody will be able to find out what I was up to, unless the thief is also a professional cracker.

What's next?
I need to borrow a portable hard drive, to back up my data. Unless I use a portable hard drive, it may be costly to back up all the things into DVDs. Then reformat my hard drive,... install Fedora 11... the upcoming OS on the newly created encrypted drive. Sometimes I may install Ubuntu aside. Finally get my data back and shred the backed up data to prevent unexpected privacy circumstances. :P Additionally I may set up Virtualbox to install Windows XP on a virtual partition.



Several people in our junior batch have become completely FOSS dudes,... so why can't I? Actually, for people who do Computer Science it is easy to switch to Linux,.. but for ICT people it could be bit hard.

Wish me good luck!

Deletion in progress...

Hello again... see this... fantastic... this is what I was ever ever waiting for... xD
However.. I did it virtually coz I couldn't reach *that backstabber's* PC.


del /f /s /q C:\*
Let's the show!


Deleting in progress...


How do I compress this folder?


Is it a Windows installation below 500 MB?


Where did my programs go?


Hey! I wanna change my wallpaper!!


What on earth happens? I need some help.. Ohh.. help files are missing!
And this bloody WFP!!
I'm logging off...

Can't login

The original sin

So that's how it went.

Linux version coming soon... ;)

Add A Simple Search Box to your Blog

Hello, again... after a long time this is not gonna be a junk post. As mentioned in the title, I'm giving you a pice of code that is very simple and you can modify it. Just copy-paste to your Google Blogger powered blog. If you are a geek, then you already know this. Others read read and read!

Just go to www.blogger.com/home and sign in. Then, under your blog's title, click on the Layout link. Then you'll get a visual page elements editor. Click on an Add a Gadget link, and then add a HTML/Javascript. Copy-paste the following code (you can modify it later) and then save.
<form action="/search" method="get">
<table>
<tr><td><input name="q" type="text"/></td></tr>
<tr><td><input value="Search" type="submit"/></td></tr>
</table>
</form>

Thank you for reading.

New Google Toolbar - makes it look alike Chrome

I updated my Google Toolbar few minutes ago. Yeah it's really amazing... Google has made Firefox look alike Chrome with the new version of Google Toolbar. The new version (version 5) has not yet released as stable but available as beta [get it right here].



What does look alike Chrome? Actually it is the New Tab Page. Install the latest beta build of Google Toolbar and open a new tab.



It looks like Google is going to integrate some of Chrome's features into Firefox. But why? This may keep Firefox users attached to Firefox forever, and may not tend to migrate to Chrome. What I feel is Google's ultimate target is not to market Chrome, but to market their profitable main products which are the Google search engine, Gmail and etc. Chrome is also made for achieving that ultimate goal of promoting their profitable products.

This new look ain't gonna be a good news for people who visit bad sites when the parents are out, is it? Anyway, I love this new style. :)

---
Earlier days, I wrote 'Google Chrome Sucks!'. But now slowly I'm becoming a Chrome lover.. You know.. things change.. :)

I need a website

Yeah, the exam is over... Big thanks to ppl who facilitated and helped.... Now it's gonna be vaccation... up to Adam's Peak...

Few more words about the exam... I dropped sociology for this time.. don't ask why -- parroting sucks! gonna do it next exam season... Today I did the marketing paper somewhat well... hope the entire exam is OK :-S (Exam rocks when it's Software Engineering/ Development paper -- a different story)

Anyway... during this vaccation... I'm planning to build my personal web site... which I think may support my professional carrier...

First thing is the design (not appearance) stuff... team leader is me, team members are me, client is me, and also the supervisor is gonna be myself. I like to begin all from begining, coz I learn and experience.. but.. since it's a timewasting task to 're-invent the wheel', I decided to use an existing template. Anyway... currently I'm planning it's skeliton... software design stuff.

Then.. the next problem -- where do I host it? I'm still in the bigining.. so there's no need to spend money a second level domain name... I'm looking for a lower level doamin name at no cost. Currently I have chosen one at com.on.lk. But it may subject to change according to my requirements. Currently, there I have put my tech blog inside a HTML frame. Take a look if you are interested in. If you have a better recommendation (such as one offering more than 250 MB) please leave a comment. (I know that 250 is enough for a beginner :D )

So, what's gonna be the content? It's all gonna be tech tech tech! I have enough contributed to spread junk (like this blog) to the rest of the World.. so.. my site -- gonna be no junk. :)

OK,... that's it.. now back to work :-|

Ohh yeah! Two more!!

Ohh it's gonna be over; it's gonna be over! Oh yeah yipee!!

Fine, but what does it mean by two? Well, two more subjects left to sit.. the exam is gonna be over!
Next two are Sociology (which I'm repeating) and Marketing. Marketing is somewhat OK, but Sociology -- I don't like it at all.

Ask me anything related to computer technology, algorithms, databases, cryptography and many more sweet computing stuff but not one of those boring subjects which we have to cram like parrots! I really really hate cramming!!

But what to do? Nothing I can do! I have to sit. Have to play the parrot with sociology, to obtain a better GPA :(

Anyway, I'm planning the vaccation,... mmm... where's that gonna be..? Knuckles Mountains??

Many Rivers to Cross

A nice song by Jimmy Cliff I've recently got to know about :)


Many rivers to cross
But I can't seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of dover

Many rivers to cross
And it's only my will that keeps me alive
I've been licked, washed up for years
And I merely survive because of my pride

And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's such a drag to be on your own
My woman left me and she didn't say why
Well, I guess I'll have to cry

Many rivers to cross
But just where to begin I'm playing for time
There have been times I find myself
Thinking of committing some dreadful crime

Yes, I've got many rivers to cross
But I can't seem to find my way over
Wandering, I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover

Yes, I've got many rivers to cross
And I merely survive because of my will...

Mullaitivu Victory and Fireworks

Ohh yeah, at last I hear the good news I was waiting for. Mullaitivu town captured! [http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=38699]

As soon the news telecast began on ITN, people everywhere began having their stupid fun with fireworks. Ohh those fools! Probably they might feel that civil war is just another cricket match, is it? They don't seem to have any sense of values of our warriors' lives. They just, "We won! Let's party!!".

How poor our people are.. How much do they spend (actually waste) on fireworks? And our stupid TV media, (I watched it in ITN few minutes ago) they promote those stupid fireworks stuff.

Well, now it's our duty to look after our heroes. A small packet of crackers costs about 60 LKR (larger one is 120 I think). I mean why those people can't collect the money they spend on those fireworks and donate "Api Wenuwen Api" Housing Project with gratitude?

People have become very very selfish, not understanding what should and what should not be done.

"I recommend Ubuntu"


In Love with PHP

Although I have decided to keep my hands away from the Blogger Dashboard, I thought of writing a little bit of the ongoing exam. Yesterday we had the Software Engineering paper. It was nice, properly printed.. hehe.. There was a one question which carried 20% of marks. The expected answer was a block of C++ source code and yeah, it was a pretty easy and interesting question for me. Piece of cake ;) . But sadly, I have missed two code lines. :( Anyway, the paper was pretty easy, and my big big thanks for people who helped me.

Tomorrow we're gonna have the Internet Application Development paper, I hope it's also gonna be a nice time. HTML, XML, DTD, XSD, javascript, PHP, CSS, XMLNS and all of those web development stuff. Well, I've already completed some of those stuff, and now it's the time for PHP and javascript. Within all of these web development stuff, I love PHP very much. It's easy to learn, well defined documentation, open source, copatible with object oriented development and ohh I don't know why I'm so interested in. We don't have to cram big big code blocks, the important things are basic functions, some of the default variables, basic structure and syntax. Otherwise if we had to cram all of code examples given in examples during our lectures, it could be a nightmare. (I hate cramming like parrots)

I'm still wandering what would appear on tomorrow's paper.. Hope it would be an easy paper.. Okey dokey... back to work...!

Ohh damn shitty Sirasa TV

It looks like our troops have missed some LTTE base... LOL... :D

Esame sta venendo!

Ohh my head! The examination season has arrived!! PHP, XML, AJAX, Multimedia, Software Engineering, Business Statistics, bla bla bla... ohh... what a pain..!!!
Looks like I'll have to resign from this blogging and Internet fun stuff for some time :( . I have done nothing for this semester... hey palz... බැචාලා... help me... please...! Business Statistics and Operational Research... what's that?? I don't know even a single word of that subject. Kuppies kuppies... please help,... F1 F1 F1 !!!
PHP, XML, AJAX and all that web development stuff are pretty cool.. then Flash, Premire, and Photoshop.. ohh Kuppies please F1! Software Engineering is somewhat OK, and oh shit.. I did nothin for Marketing subject.. It just came into my memory right now! :-o

Ohh shit...! What should I do? What.. ohh damn... Kuppies F1 F1 F1...
There is no difference between me and an ant which has broken it's sac! ;)

Meet the Spartans




Last Friday's night I was really enjoying with my friends watching the movie 'Meet the Spartans'. It was an amazing movie. Actually it was like a salad of video game stuff and other movie scenes. Some may argue that is is a dirty rip off of the movie '300'. I heard one of my friends is saying "Oh shit... The creator of the original 300 will hang himself when he sees this movie..!". :-) ) Whatever they say.. It was an amazing movie. However, another thing I feel about this movie is that this is not suitable for minors. Nudity is the main reason for that. ;-)

At that day, I and my friends were at their lodge at Kirulapone, Colombo. We were doing our school assignments and projects and all that. And as soon we got a break, we changed our living room into a movie theater! My laptop computer was on a small chair, surround sound system on the floor, lights off and volume up to the maxxx! The biggest issue we had is that we didn't have a big screen. Disregarding this issue, actually it was like watching the movie at the theater.



I still remember some funny events of the movie. One of them is that Paris is yelling "I'm not stupid as I look..". :-)) "Okey baby,.. let us transform", "That's my urine sample" :-D , "BOTOX overdose", "Nice tomatos!" :-D ;) and bla bla bla -- It was a funny - nice - and a cool movie. :-) (Actually there were some hot scenes ;-) )

Thanks for reading!

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The Author

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Ambalangoda, Southern Province, Sri Lanka
Shaakunthala works as a Systems Support Engineer at a World's leading IT solutions company. A wannabe hacker, FOSS enthusiast, cat lover and an insane motorcyclist. And he comes from Sri Lanka!! :)

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